We look back at the launch of hmv live and local...
As we continue our look at back at the best that 2019 has had to offer, today we’re looking at little closer to home.
During 2019, hmv has opened its door to unsigned artists, inviting them to perform at their local HMV, with the possibility of their CDs and vinyl being stocked in-store too. Luckily, plenty of local artists seized the opportunity in hmv stores up and down the country.
As 2019 draws to a close, we spoke to five bands, Birmingham rockers The Clause, Wolverhampton genre melders Citylightz (pictured above), Norfolk freewheeling folkers Morganway, Chester upstarts The Montagues and Midlanders The Verse, who told us what it was like to be part of hmv’s Live and Local in 2019...
Firstly, could you tell us who you are and what you sound like?
Pearce McMenamin (The Clause, singer): “We are The Clause. We’ve been described before as having a 1960s swagger, 1980s groove and a 1990s attack. Taking most of our inspiration from Rock and Roll with hints of disco in our new material.”
Luke Henry (Citylightz, vocals/guitars): “We’re Citylightz. We receive comparisons all the way from The Specials to Arctic Monkeys to Jamie T, but the fans are labelling the genre Rock'n'Road…”
Callum Morgan (Morganway, bass/vocals): “Morganway is a six-piece band from the East started by my twin brother Kieran and me. Our sound is a mix of rock, folk, country, indie and pop, and we’re often referred to as an Americana outfit, but really we’re just allowing our collective personalities and influences to shine through. We love classic and contemporary rock and folk… and we’re big on harmonies.”
Kyle McLean (The Montagues, vocals/guitars): “We are The Montagues. We sound like Stereophonics meets The Killers.”
Alex Cotton (The Verse, guitarist): "We are The Verse. We have a distinct indie rock sound that resonates through bands like Arctic Monkeys and The Amazons, as well as taking inspiration from indie legends like Catfish and the Bottlemen and Oasis."
How did you find out about live and local?
Luke Henry: “We found out through Twitter, it's amazing how big the live and local scheme got very quickly on Twitter.”
Pearce McMenamin: “We found out about it through Raw Sound TV who offered us the gig. They do a lot of work with upcoming bands around the Midlands.”
Alex Cotton: “Raw Sound offered us to play in HMV Solihull and with our presence there, they would record the event for their online social platforms.”
Kyle McLean: “We followed the HMV twitter account and as soon as the post went out to get in touch, we messaged straight away. The Chester store were on the case and made everything so quick and easy.”
Callum Morgan: “Norwich is a special place for this band and the simple answer is we found out about Live and Local when the hmv store in Chapelfield asked us to play. We’d just released our debut album, and they’d already sold some copies there. It was just a no brainer, everyone was super keen.”
How was the experience of playing in hmv? Did you enjoy playing in-store?
Callum Morgan: “It was such a wonderful way to celebrate the release of our album. The staff were amazing, really helpful… they’d help set up a great display of all our vinyl and CDs. It was a bit surreal because we’ve been going to hmv stores all our lives and to see our album actually being sold… and performing in that same space. I was pretty amazed at the atmosphere.”
Pearce McMenamin: “Yeah we really enjoyed it, it was something a little different for us to be a part of. We’re used to playing proper venues, so to play in the store was something quite unorthodox for us.”
“It was the morning after we released our latest single 'In My Element' and we had a big release party in Birmingham the night before so there were a few sore heads on stage in hmv.”
“Despite that, we really enjoyed it. I think the best thing about the day was that the store was selling physical copies of In My Element and on the day they outsold Ed Sheeran’s new record on its release day. That was cool…”
Kyle McLean: “Playing in store was one of the most enjoyable gigs I’ve played. It was surreal to play in such an iconic music store amongst vinyl of some of our favourite artists ...and Cliff Richard.”
Alex Cotton: “Playing in a store with such heritage and history was a big deal for us. Having our CDs in-store and seeing our merch up on mannequins was a level above what we had done previously. The experience was great.”
Luke Henry: “It was awesome, not something we have ever done before, but you feel like a proper rockstar. I mean playing in hmv and signing CD's. What’s not to love?”
Were you nervous? It’s a bit of an unconventional place to play…
Kyle McLean: “We weren’t nervous. It was just surreal and so enjoyable!”
Luke Henry: “A little nervous, but very excited. Some of the biggest artists in the world have played hmv stores and now we are on that list too!”
Alex Cotton: “Whenever we are in a new environment as a band we always get pre-gig apprehension, but we know as a band we're strong enough to tackle any crowd. The set up was great and it was one of the few gigs where we could actually clearly hear all of our instruments as we play so loud!”
Callum Morgan: “It definitely felt different from other gigs! I think when we were soundchecking we were a little on edge. We were adjusting to the feel of it all, but the staff were so kind and passionate about the whole thing. We just got really into it. The atmosphere was that perfect mix of relaxed and excited. That may sound contradictory, but that combination is the recipe for a great show.”
Pearce McMenamin: “I don’t think we were, no. We’ve been doing this for a good while now so I don’t think we really get nervous anymore. I think we were more excited than nervous even though it is an unconventional place to play.”
What were the crowd like? Were you pleased with the reaction?
Callum Morgan: “The crowd were beautiful. There were some familiar faces as well as Morganway newcomers! We were really pleased with the turnout and I think it just felt special for all of us to be celebrating music somewhere that, ultimately and literally, symbolises a passion for music and film.”
Alex Cotton: “The crowd is always what makes it all worth it, seeing our current following shouting our lyrics back at us is always a humbling experience. That came along with the shoppers who came up to us after rather confused asking who we were!”
Kyle McLean: “The crowd were amazing. A store filled with music fans and some of our own fans made it a great atmosphere. The reaction was more than we could have wished for. Everyone was respectful.”
Pearce McMenamin: “The crowd were really good. We were surprised that there were so many people that came down to see us play quite early in the afternoon. The shop was really busy.”
Luke Henry: “Absolutely, but mostly it gave us a lot of exposure on social media, some of the videos and posts got over 10,000 views. Awesome!”
Are you planning to come back into store in 2020?
Luke Henry: “Yes! We are planning to launch a new EP on CD and coloured vinyl next year and would love to work with hmv to promote it.”
Pearce McMenamin: “We’d definitely come back in to play again in 2020, we’ll look forward to it.”
Callum Morgan: “Sounds good to me! I do love a visit to HMV. Roll on 2020.”
Alex Cotton: “Of course! We'd love to play in more stores, getting reports off HMV each week hearing our CDs are flying off the shelf is incredible and we'd love to set up a HMV tour!”
Kyle McLean: “We have already pencilled in a return in the New Year. We would love to come and play all the time. Perhaps a nice unplugged acoustic session too.”
hmv would like to thank all the artists who've performed in store in 2019 and part of our live and local campaign. We look forward to welcoming even more of you into our stores in 2020.
For more details on how to get involved and to see what's coming up, keep an eye on the #hmvliveandlocal hashtag on Twitter.